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Terms in this set (43)

-elected ever 4 years
-no term limits
-Rick Perry is in his third term as Texas Governor (this is a first in Texas)
-approve or veto bills by the Texas legislature
-also convene the legislature (including special sessions)
-granting criminal pardons
-Governor is part of a divided executive, but most voters identify the state leadership with the governor
-use of media by the governor to influence the electorate

-governor can be removed by impeachment - initiated by the house and then a trial occurs in the state
-if governor is removed (due to conviction or death) the lieutenant governor is the replacement until the next election

Legislative powers:
-priorities of the governor outlined in State of the State address
-established a policy agenda, recommend legislation to the legislature, express views on issues in Texas policies
-this allowed legislators, voters, and interest groups to know the preferences of the governor
-referred to as governor's message power - a message to open the legislature session, a biennial budget message, and a retirement message at the end of the session
-this is a Constitutional requirement of the governor
-this is an important informal power of the governor (despite formal limitations on the governor)
-calling special sessions also influences legislation
-calling special sessions ca harm the governor if legislation does not pass

-veto - striking down a particular piece of legislation
-also, line-item veto on the state's budget; removes some funding while approving the rest
-vetoes are powerful in texas because they often happen near the end of a session; this means the legislature cannot reconvene to override the veto

Budgetary Powers:
-governor is weakened due to legislature's role in determining the budget
-Legislative Budget Board (LBB)
-comprised of Lieutenant Governor, speaker, and 8 lawmakers
-this makes a legislative agenda difficult for the governor; cannot be certain of what will receive budgetary approval
-the governor can transfer money between agencies, but this requires LBB approval

Judicial Powers
-Board of Pardons and Paroles is a 7 member board appointed by the governor
-Governor can grant executiveclemency
30 day stays of execution - no board involvement
Full pardon - but this required the recommendation of the board
-extradition - governor must order state officials to carry out extradition requests in cases when a criminal from texas flees to another state

Military Powers
-Texas governor in commander-in-chief of military force
-cannot declare war on another country; this is established in the US Constitution as a power of the President
-can mobilize Texas National Guard -used for instances of natural disaster, riots, etc
-the National Guards of various states can also be mobilized by the US president in times of crisis
-Texas has around 200 boards and commissions that oversee agencies created by state law
-each of these has board members that serve 6 year terms
-staggered terms -one-third of board membership is changed every 2 years
-these members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate
-governor can also use the appointment power to reward political supporters, a practice known as patronage
-this power is limited by senatorial courtesy - allowed the senator of the district in which a nominee lives to effectively veto the appointment
-this a custom or unwritten norm - it is not a written law

-another limitation - Texas law does not grant governor's the ability to fire their predecessors' appointees
-thus several years into a governor's term before mist boards and commissions are controlled by his appointees
Executive Branch - Other Offices
Attorney General
-the chief lawyer for the state gov
-elected to a four year term
-the Attorney General's legal role primarily civil rather than criminal
-difference from the US Attorney General
-Attorney General may assist in a crime case at the request of local prosecutors if the case involves a state interest
-can have a significant impact on public policy when opinions are issued on the legality or constitutionality of proposed or enacted laws
-the resulting opinion has the effect of law unless it is altered or overturned by the legislature or a court
Comptroller of Public Accounts
-is responsible for tax collection, accounting, and estimating revenue for the state and acts as the overseer of state funds
-elected to a four year term
-Comptroller's responsibility to deliver a revenue forecast and to certify that the budget passed by the legislature is within that revenue estimate
-overriding the Comptroller's action requires a four-fifths majority in both houses of the legislature
-essentially impossible

The Land Commissioner
-the head of the General Land Office
-elected to a four-year term
-administers the use of all state owned lands
-includes leasing for gas and oil production, mining, etc., and monitoring the environmental quality of public lands and waters
-gains power and significance, particularly energy, thar are found on many of these lands
-authorizes exploration and use of public lands

Secretary of State
-primary responsibility is the administration of elections
-oversees the voter registration process, including cooperating in voter registration drives with civic and service organizations
-the secretary of state is the highest ranking official appointed by the governor (with senate approval) rather than elected by the voters
-not a powerful position itself, but can become platforms for other offices

Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC)
-has three members who are selected in statewide elections and serve staggered terms (six year)
-one of the most powerful bodies in the state gov
-regulates state and interstate railroads
-also charged with regulating the oil and gas industry, trucking, and mining
-deregulation of many of its areas of jurisdiction and declining importance of oil and gas in Texas economy means TRRC is not as powerful as in the middle 20th century

State Board of Education
-fifteen board members represent districts across the state
-serve four year terms
-created by the Texas Constitution to implement a constitutional mandate to maintain a free public education system.
-issues include: teacher and student testing, charter schools, distribution of funding and other resources, content of school curricula
-the power of the president i based on the balance of power in washington
-divided government - control of presidency by one party and control of congress by another party (either one or both chambers)
-indirectly elected by the people through the Electoral College to a four year term
-22nd amendment, adopted in 1951, prohibits anyone from ever being elected to the presidency for a third term
-Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the constitution sets the principal qualifications
-be a natural born citizen of the US
-be at least 35 years old
-have been a permanent resident in the US for at least 14 years

Article I - Legislative Powers
Sign the legislation; the bill then becomes law
VETO (or override) legislation and return it to Congress, with objections; the bill does not become law, unless each house of congress votes to override the veto by a two-thirds vote
Take not action. In this instance, the president neither signs nor vetoes the legislation. After 10 days (excluding Sundays) 2 possibilites
-If Congress is still convened, the bill becomes law
-If Congress has adjourned, thus preventing the return of the legislation, the bill does not become law. This latter outcome is known as the pocket veto.

Administrative Powers
-The president is the head of the executive branch, of the federal government and is constitutionally obligated to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed"
-Presidents make numerous executive branch appts
-members of the cabinet are all appointed by a president with the "advice and consent" of a majority of the senate. Appts made wile the senate is in recess are temp and expire at the end of the next session of the senate
-Cabinet is the top administrative officials who are heads of departments (eg Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc)
-President consults with individual Cabinet members on specific issues, but they usually do not meet as a group

Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of the immediate staff of the Pres of the US
-includes Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of the US Trade Representative, etc
-White House Office is part of the EOP
-includes Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

Juridical Powers
-the power to nominate federal judges, including members of the US courts of appeals and the Supreme Court
-these require Senate confirmation
-these are often very controversial appts

Article II -Executive Branch
-According to Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the President of the US is commander in chief of the US Armed Forces
-Congress provides a check to Presidetial military power through its control over military spending and regulation
-President directs US foreign policy
-negotiates treaties with other nations; become binding ont he US when approved by two-thirds vote of the Senate

Inherent Executive Power
-understood as powers inherent as in the executive branch and the gov, but not specifically mentioned (or enumerated) in the Constitution

"He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." -Article II, Section 3

-State of the Union - an annual address presented by the President of the US Congress
-reports on the condition of the nation by also allowed Presidents to outline their legislative agenda and their national priorities
-allows a president to communicate their agenda to the people as well
-part of the president's power to inform and persuade
-congress still must aid president, but president can create pressure on congress
Oath of Office
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Article II Section 3: "...he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed"
Purpose of this clause is to ensure that a law is faithfully executed by the President, even if the president disagrees with the purpose of that law
President has discretionary powers
Executing a law means directing the federal bureaucracy to carry it out
Focus of the agencies that execute the law can be influence by the President
Includes the budget proposed by the President to Congress; this requires Congressional approval, but often the President's budget (from OMB) is the starting point for Congress
When appropriation (money spent) provides discretion, the President can decide when and how appropriated moneys will be spent most efficiently
Budget of the United States Government is the President's proposal to the U.S. Congress which recommends funding levels for the next fiscal year
Executive Privilege
Right of the President to deny Congress information it deems to be confidential
More broadly, it is the resistance of intervention by the legislative and judicial branches into the executive branch
Not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, but the Supreme Court ruled it to be part of the separation of powers doctrine and derived from the supremacy of executive branch (within the jurisdiction of that branch)
It is fundamental to the separation of powers
E.g. in executing the laws
Nixon attempts to use executive privilege and this led to United States vs. Nixon
But Supreme Court decides this is a limited privilege
Once Executive Privilege is claimed a prosecutor can examine communications of the President to determine the issue
President can decide a law is unconstitutional and thus refuse to enforce it
They can refuse to enforce a law if they believe it is unconstitutional since the Constitution, as the supreme law of the land, takes precedence over acts of Congress
Congress is under a duty not to pass unconstitutional laws, the President is under a duty not to enforce unconstitutional laws, and the courts are under a duty to strike down unconstitutional laws
Executive Orders
Intended to aid officers and agencies of the executive branch to manage the procedures within the federal government itself
Directed at agencies (the bureaucracy) within the federal government
Can be changed by Congress via writing a more specific law
Executive Orders can direct bureaucracy in their implementation of law
Supreme Court can rule Executive Orders invalid if they are interpreted to make law, rather than executing a law
Execution includes clarification - Executive Orders are based in vaguely written laws passed by Congress
** criticisms: executive orders are seen as making laws; redirecting a law away from its mandate (i.e. its intended purpose)
Congress has refused to approve funding necessary to carry out certain policy measure contained with the order
Article II Section 4 of the Constitution states that:
"The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments."
House impeaches by a majority decision; Senate conducts the trial of the President and must convict by a two-thirds majority
Two U.S. President have been impeached by the House, but acquitted at the trials held by the Senate
-state court has jurisdiction over disputes with connection to a US state
-state courts handle the vast majority of civil and criminal cases
-trial courts where all trials are held
-many cases do not make it to trial
-at trial: plaintiff vs defendant
-plaintiff - one who brings complaint or suit
-defendant - one accused of violating civil or criminal code
-district attorneys are responsible for determining warrants an indictment
-gran jury determines if evidence is sufficient
-if district attorneys seek to be judges, important public trails are a consideration for their reputation
Civil vs Criminal codes:
-civil code - laws regulating the rights and obligations of citizens with regard to one another
-ask court to award damages and reliefs for injuries siffered
-does not result in imprisonment if one breaks civil code
-criminal code - laws regulating relations between individuals and society
-offenses are viewed as violating society itself
-gov is the plaintiff
-if convicted, the criminal owes debt to society and not just to individual/injured party
*it is possible to be convicted in both civil and criminal case; or in only one
-civil cases have lesser burdens of proof
-state courts connected to policies of their area
-39 of 50 states have some election for judges
-public opinion becomes important in these judgements
-includes issues of interest groups - mostly single-issue groups that are concerned with legal decisions on their issue
-campaign financing is the issue here - campaigning becomes both more expensive and more partisan
-based on Article II, Section 2, Clause 2.
-nominate by the President and approved by the Senate
-process begins in the Senate Judiciary Committee
-they issue a report on their view of the candidate to the senate

-The senate confirmation vote has become much more close and partisan in recent times
-eg Scalia (98-0)-Sotomayor and Kagan (68-31: 63:37)

-Supreme Court decisions influential due to principle of state decisis
-"let the decision stand"
-judges in lowed federal and state courts expected to abide by precedents - priot court ruling applicable to a particular case
-state decisis is an important principle for the rule of law
-without it: 1) laws inconsistent across the country 2) fosters disrespect for law itself
-cases that appears similar require judges to make a legal distinction - legal difference between particular case and prior court decisions and precedents
-reversals can result of a higher court rules that precedent was departed from by a lower court
-Supreme Court originally required by law to review appeals; became too man6 for court to handle
-Congress passes law in 1925 allowing Supreme Court to reject cases
-the Court must grant a cert of writ of certiorari ("to be informed of")
-requires the cote of 4 justices
-party that lost in lower court - petitioner: party that won -respondent
-may only review "final judgement rendered by the highest court of a state in which a decision could be had"
-selection of cases based on questions of federal statutory or constitutional law
-eg opposite conclusions on similar cases by two lower courts
-these include "circuit splits"
-cases among two states are part of the court's original jurisdiction and can go directly to the supreme court
-technically, court decisions can be ignored and thus not enforced
-but public opinion is strongly in support of the supreme court (most of the time)
-court's decisions therefore almost always followed
-receiver - court official with authority to see that decisions are carried out

Texas Judiciary
-all states are subject to both state and federal laws
-federal court rulings affect state policies
-eg Bill of Rights in each state, but the constitution takes precedent
-Supreme Court can decide a state law is unconstitutional
Structure of Texas Court System
-5 levels to the Texas Courts; based on different jurisdiction
-Original jurisdiction - cases being heard for the first time (criminal or civil)
-Appellate jurisdiction - court with authority to review decisions of lowers courts
-highest appellate courts are bifurcated in Texas
-Texas Supreme Courts - civil cases
-Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - criminal cases
-Limited Jurisdiction - lowest ranking courts
-Municipal Courts - limited jurisdiction involving cases of city ordinances
-ordinances - local laws enacted by a city council
-includes how judges are selected
-trial records are not kept; appeals from these courts are heard again (de novo -appellate courts hear evidence again)
-Justice of the Peace Courts - limited jurisdiction over minor civil and criminal cases
-established by each county
County Courts
-created by the Texs Constitution
-confusing system due to state only adding more courts, not changing structure
-each county over County Judge
-Statutory County Courts and Probate Courts
-differing jurisdiction based on: amount of money involved or specific local issues
-probate - administration of estates
District Courts
-primary trial court in Texas
-level above County Courts
-but some overlapping jurisdiction - eg juveniles, civil cases
-original jurisdiction - felony criminal matters
-districts are defined by the legislature (as per Texas Constitution)
Intermediate Courts of Appeal
-review civil and criminal cases from the district courts
-14 of these courts covering 13 multi-county districts
Highest Appellate Courts
-two separate courts of last resort based on 1875 Texas Constitution
-intension to divide political power; also speed up criminal cases
-Texas Supreme Court - appellate jurisdiction over civil cases
-also coordinates state judicial system
-disciplinary authority authority over state judges

-treats petitions of review - claims filed by the losing party that legal or procedural mistakes were made in a lower court
-4 of 9 justices to grant to hear the case

-issues writs of mandamus - orders directing a lower court or public official to take a particular action
-Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - appellate jurisdiction over criminal cases
-appeals in death penalty cases go directly to this court (by passing Intermediate)
*some of the decisions of these courts can be appealed to the US Supreme Court (as per federal law)
Jury System
-two types : Grand and Petit
-Grand Jury - panel that reviews evidence to determine whether to indict or charge individual with a criminal offense
-check on the power of the gov (executive branch)
-12 citizens selected by a district judge
-9 of 12 to vote on the evidence and issue an indictment (a written statement charging an individual with a punishable offense)
Petit jury - panel that hears evidence in a civil or criminal prosecution
-decides outcome by issuing a verdict
-6 jurors in Justice of Peace Courts; 12 in District Courts